Santa Fe, NM – The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) is urging New Mexicans to be advised of potentially severe weather beginning today and continuing through early next week. The National Weather Service (NWS) has forecast heavy rainfall for large portions of western and central New Mexico in the next 24 hours, and storms are expected to continue through to eastern New Mexico in the coming days.
“Please be prepared for heavy rainfall, flash flooding, and potential road closures throughout this week,” said DHSEM Secretary Bianca Ortiz Wertheim. “This has been a very active monsoon season for New Mexico, and with 10 state disaster declarations in the last three months, our communities need to be prepared. If you can avoid driving during storms, please do so. And never attempt to cross flowing streams, as even a foot of running water can cause most vehicles to be carried away. Remember, turn around, don’t drown.”
According to today’s hazard report from NWS Albuquerque:
- Today and Tonight: “A surge of deep subtropical moisture is entering western and central New Mexico today, spreading into more eastern areas of the state tonight. The abundant moisture will lead to increased rainfall chances with some areas of locally heavy rainfall and flash flooding possible. Recent wildfire burn scars and any areas that receive repeated rounds of rainfall will be most susceptible to flash flooding.”
- Thursday through Tuesday: “Scattered to numerous thunderstorms will redevelop during the afternoons and evenings Thursday through Saturday with the locally heavy rainfall threat persisting, mostly in southwestern, south central, central and east central parts of the state.”
- “Thunderstorm chances will reduce each day for the remainder of the holiday weekend and into early next week.”
New Mexicans are advised to monitor weather conditions with the help of the NWS at weather.gov and road conditions by dialing the New Mexico Road Advisory Hotline at 5-1-1 or by visiting nmroads.com. DHSEM also advises New Mexicans to consider the following safety measures:
Before a flood:
- Make a plan for your household, including your pets, so that you and your family know what to do, where to go, and what you will need to protect yourselves from flooding. Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response.
- Gather supplies, including three gallons of water, a first aid kit, a stock of food that requires no cooking or refrigeration, a battery-operated radio, flashlights, extra batteries, necessary medications, and a back-up power source.
- Purchase or renew flood insurance. Homeowner’s insurance typically does not cover flooding. Information on flood insurance through The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is available at floodsmart.gov. While there is usually a 30- day waiting period for an NFIP insurance policy to go into effect, this wait may be waived in the event of flooding after a wildfire.
During a flood:
- Evacuate immediately, if told to evacuate. Never drive around barricades. Local responders use them to safely direct traffic out of flooded areas.
- Stay off bridges over fast-moving water. Fast-moving water can wash bridges away without warning.
- Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown!
After a flood:
- Avoid driving except in emergencies.
- Wear heavy work gloves, protective clothing, and boots during clean up, and use appropriate face coverings or masks if cleaning mold or other debris.
- Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. Turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock if it is safe to do so.
- Avoid wading in floodwater, which can be contaminated and contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
Residents can also contact local emergency managers for help obtaining sandbags – a simple but effective tool for diverting flood waters around buildings. In recent months, DHSEM has delivered more than 400,000 sandbags across the state. Detailed instructions from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for filling and placing sandbags are available here.
Lastly, residents who have been affected by severe flooding can contact the American Red Cross of New Mexico for emergency support and recovery planning at 1-800-842-7349.
DHSEM works to protect the people of New Mexico and the nation through a comprehensive and coordinated program of mitigating hazards, preparing for emergencies, preventing attacks, and recovering from disasters.